Display copies of important photographs instead of the originals
If originals are displayed, keep light exposure to a minimum:
- Display photographs for a while and then store them so that none are exposed to light for long periods of time.
- Turn off the lights when no one is in a room. Use lower wattage bulbs.
- Place on walls that get the least amount of sun.
- Close draperies and blinds when out of the room for extended periods of time or when not at home.
- Use ultra-violet filtering glass or acrylic for framed photographs. Use an acid-free mat or a spacer so the front of the photographs does not touch the glass.
- Store photographs and important documents in a cool, dry place where there is minimal fluctuation in temperature and humidity. Avoid attics and basements.
- Store individual photographs and slides in polyester or polypropylene pages or sleeves. Acid-free sleeves or envelopes, which have passed a standardized "photographic activity test" are another option for photographs.
- When purchasing albums or storage boxes, look for those that are acid-free and have passed a "photographic activity test."
- Never put an adhesive on your photographs. Use photo corners, polyester mounting strips or sleeves to mount photographs in albums.
- Store negatives in a separate location from albums and prints. In the event of a disaster, you will have two chances for your photographs to survive.
- Use a soft pencil to label photographs or paper that might come into contact with photographs.
- Handle your photographs and negatives by their edges and with clean hands to avoid soiling the surface.
- Basic Care of Photographic Materials Minnesota History Interpreter Tech Talk, May 1998 (pdf)
- Care of Photographic Materials: Prints Minnesota History Interpreter Tech Talk, July 1998 (pdf)
- WIR Display Permanence Ratings for Current Products in the 4x6-inch Category
This handout is being distributed by the Conservation Outreach Program of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) as a public service. The distribution of this handout does not constitute a recommendation by MHS of any specific vendor or their products, nor will MHS assume liability for products supplied by a vendor. Each application must be evaluated individually and materials selected that best suit the condition of the object and how it is to be used. If you have questions about a particular application, treatment, or service, please contact the MHS Conservation Outreach program at: 651-259-3465, 1-800-657-3773, FAX at 651-296-9961 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.